HOTSEAT- On the 'No Fuss Bus': Moran drives to June 9 primary

Brian Moran

Of the three Democratic candidates for governor, former delegate Brian Moran is the Kennedy-esque one. His family is Irish, politically involved, he's got the looks, the hair, a brother holding a powerful position in Congress– and he's even got the Massachusetts accent.

The latter, he says, has proved no impediment in his campaign to be governor of Virginia.

"When I'm out there talking about the issues, it doesn't come up," he insists. "I've lived in Virginia longer than Mark Warner or Tim Kaine. I'm a Virginian by choice, and I'm married to a Virginian." (And his wife,  Karyn, went to Radford, he adds, further pumping his commonwealth creds.) 

Moran grew up in Natick, Massachusetts, the youngest of seven children in a household where current events like the Vietnam War were discuss around the dinner table. He got his chance to see government in action one summer in Washington after 8th-grade graduation.

His parents put him on a train alone to stay with his brother, Jim, who was then living in Alexandria and is now in the House of Representatives.

"It was a 12-hour train ride, and I don't know if parents would do that today with a 13-year-old," laughs the father of a first and third grader. 

"I was fascinated and engrossed by the [Watergate] hearings," he remembers.  And he says the power and responsibility of government is a lesson that's stayed with him.

When he returned to Alexandria after graduating from law school at Catholic University, big brother Jim was on the Alexandria City Council and later became mayor. 

Much like fellow gubernatorial candidates Creigh Deeds and Bob McDonnell, Brian Moran is a lawyer who worked as a prosecutor before being elected to the House of Delegates in 1995. He succeeded Deeds as chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, and bowed out of a run for attorney general in 2005 when Deeds decided to run.

"I respect and admire Creigh," says Moran. But he didn't step aside this time. "We need a Democrat in the governor's office, and I think I'm the best candidate to do it."

With June 9 nearing, the barbs are becoming more heated. Moran has been chided by Deeds for accepting donations from defense contractors who have business before the House Appropriations Committee upon which big brother Jim Moran is a member.

"I'm surprised our defense sector would be targeted," says Moran. "I like Creigh, but this attack is erroneous.

One big issue distinguishes Moran from his rivals. He pledges to repeal Virginia's ban– approved by 57 percent of voters in 2006– on gay marriage and civil unions. "I don't believe we should place discriminatory language in our constitution," he says.

Moran has one other long-time Virginia boat he wants to rock if elected governor: the one-term limit the commonwealth imposes on its chief exec. 

"It's important for Virginia's long-term strategic goals to have a two-term governor," says Moran, noting that such an effort, if successful, would not benefit him. 

He demurs from expressing any interest in a congressional seat, should, say for instance, brother Jim decided to give up his solid 8th District in Northern Virginia. But then, any good politician knows that you only run for one seat at a time. 

Age: 49

What do you like best about Charlottesville? The Downtown Mall area, smart pedestrian-oriented, livable communities and its progressive beliefs.

Least? Too far from Alexandria and Richmond, where I spend too much of my time.

Favorite hangout here? A couple of local coffee shops, like Cville Coffee and Mudhouse.

Most overrated virtue? "My southern drawl"

People would be surprised to know about you: Dad played for the Redskins.

What would you change about yourself? I'd have fundraising connections to rival Terry McAuliffe.

Proudest accomplishment? The passing of Alicia's Law, which increases law enforcement's capacity to crack down on Internet child sex predators.

People find most annoying about you: Impatient

Whom do you admire? This paper is in Charlottesville, right? ....Thomas Jefferson

Favorite book? Chesapeake by James A. Michener

Subject that causes you to rant? Hypocrisy

Biggest 21st-century thrill? Taking my daughter to the inauguration of Barack Obama

Biggest 21st-century creep out? Seeing Dick Cheney on TV

What do you drive? A minivan

In your car CD player right now: CD player is broken, listening to XM.

Next journey? Moving Virginia forward in clean energy solutions.

Most trouble you've ever gotten in? I think I'll save that for when my children are older...

Regret: My parents are no longer alive to take this journey with me and advise me.

Favorite comfort food: Pasta and Dairy Queen.

Always in your refrigerator: Fresh fruit

Must-see TV: ESPN SportsCenter

Describe a perfect day. At home with the kids.

Walter Mitty fantasy: To be a professional football player– winning quarterback in the Super Bowl.

Who'd play you in the movie? Robert Redford

Most embarrassing moment? My junior prom outfit. Fortunately, there are no pictures.

Best advice you ever got? When Mark Warner encouraged me to run for the House of Delegates.

Favorite bumper sticker? "One nuclear bomb can ruin your whole day" and "Brian Moran for Governor."